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Comment: Re:Brain drain (Score 2) 105

by Trepidity (#49168075) Attached to: Marissa Mayer On Turning Around Yahoo

When was that part of SV culture? Even if you go back to the old-school SV firms, they were pretty negative on telecommuting, and ran regular offices. What era and kind of company do you have in mind? If you go back to the '60s-'90s even, Silicon Valley companies like Intel, Sun, Apple, SGI, Oracle, etc. required regular office time. You could certainly shift your schedule at many of them (e.g. come in at 10am, not 8am, as long as you stay late too), but you couldn't work from home, or get away with less than 40+ hours in the office (often 50+).

Comment: Re:serious question (Score 4, Informative) 105

by Trepidity (#49167851) Attached to: Marissa Mayer On Turning Around Yahoo

From a monetary, stock-price perspective, at the moment the main value in Yahoo is that they own a significant stake in Alibaba, a huge Chinese conglomerate. Their stake in Alibaba at current prices is worth about $34 billion, and Yahoo's current market cap is ~$40 billion. Even assuming a discount on their Alibaba stake due to some overhead that would be involved in unwinding it, it still represents more than half of Yahoo's stock value.

Comment: Re:Metadata (Score 1) 307

by Trepidity (#49130247) Attached to: Moxie Marlinspike: GPG Has Run Its Course

That is actually what "metadata" means in the current privacy debate. The NSA was claiming their snooping wasn't such a big deal because they were only collecting "metadata", which meant basically logs of senders/recipients (or phone callers/callees) along with things like message size (call duration), etc. I think it's reasonable to point out that GPG does nothing to stop this kind of dragnet collection, though it's also true that it's not "useless" as a result.

Comment: Re:Please tell me this is satire (Score 4, Informative) 319

by Trepidity (#49127641) Attached to: Use Astrology To Save Britain's Health System, Says MP

I could see that in a proportional-representation system. If 10% of the population is really into homeopathy, they could vote for a party that represents those interests. But the UK has a first-past-the-post system, like the US, meaning members are elected by getting the most votes in a specific district. Is Tredinnick's district really majority in favor of astrology being funded by the NHS? My guess is no, and that he's elected despite this issue, not because of it. Incumbents are very hard to knock off, especially outside of marginal districts (his district is a Conservative stronghold, and the UK has no party primaries), so he keeps winning regardless of whether his district's residents think astrology is useful or not.

Comment: Re:It is not about technology (Score 1) 183

by Trepidity (#49101261) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Can Technology Improve the Judicial System?

The American tradition of liberty is not one of unrestricted direct democracy, aka mob rule, but of an ordered republic with checks and balances and structural limits on what can be accomplished via elections. At the Founding, judges were not elected; that is a recent (20th-century) innovation in some state and local court systems, not traditionally part of the American approach to the justice system. Juries were selected from amongst one's peers, and judges were appointed for life tenures, from among those learned in the law.

Comment: Re:no longer need to hire someone with a doctorate (Score 2) 96

by Trepidity (#49094577) Attached to: How Machine Learning Ate Microsoft

More likely, there will be a basic set of functionality that can be used by Mr Below Average coder to generate a bunch of spurious correlations.

I don't think getting the machine learning to "work" is going to be the hard part, in the literal sense of the code running and generating stuff. But if you have no understanding of statistics, the conclusions you draw are likely to be invalid.

Top Ten Things Overheard At The ANSI C Draft Committee Meetings: (7) Well, it's an excellent idea, but it would make the compilers too hard to write.